The Grice Club


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Is Grice the greatest philosopher that ever lived?

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Grice's Good Friday


When we say "Goodbye" we literally mean, "God be with you". The connection between 'good' and 'God' is Griceian in nature.

However, in Good Friday, the Griceian, qua smartest etymythologist, can go too far.

In "Good Friday", the theory, non-Griceian one, may be the boring one that 'good' means 'good'. Some are repelled by this seeing that it was the day when Jesus Christ was crucified. (Grice was C. of E., attended Clifton, and later joined Corpus Christi as a Fellowship student).

But, for all that R. M. Hare said about 'good', in this case, 'good' is just used to designate a day (or season) when some religious observance takes place.

The theory that "Good" in Good Friday IS a corruption of "God's Friday" remains valid in some Griceian quarters!

Popper subtitled the original Austrian version of his essay as being on the
theory of knowledge of 'modern natural science'. But surely since then 
Popperians have proliferated and there's nothing qua falsificationism that
need  to apply JUST to 'natural science'. There may be falsifications in
sociology,  say, or in etymology.

According to Wikipedia (falsify that!) the etymology or as I prefer 
etymythology of 'Good Friday' has been 'contested'. According to some it  means:

i. Today is God's Friday.

i.e. with 'good' being a 'corruption' of "God".

But according to another theory -- call it Theory T2 -- 'good' just means 

In the ps the quotations, as an exercise in Popperianism. I guess a 
falsifier would be to note the way Good Friday was referred to BEFORE 'good' 
started to be used to mean 'holy' (possibly "Holy Friday"). This would falsify 
T1. And finding some manuscript where the monk wrote "God's Friday" would 
possibly falsify T2 (of course by corroborating T1, but Popper cares a hoot 
about corroboration, it would seem).

1300   St. John Evangelist (Laud) 27 in C. Horstmann Early  S.-Eng.
Legendary (1887) 403  
A-morewe, ase on þe guode friday, ase he deide on þe rode.

1300   St. Brendan (Laud) l. 366 in C. Horstmann Early  S.-Eng. Legendary
(1887) 229  
Þare heo gounnen bi-leue A-gode friday al þe longue day for-to an ester 

1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 17288 + 81  
Vse we ay After heghe ful of þe moyne to take þe next friday, And þat hald 
we our gode friday.

1400)    Mandeville's Trav. (Titus C.xvi) (1919)  50  
Þere is a lampe þat hongeth before the Sepulcre..& on the gode Fryday  it
goth out be himself.

1429   Mirour Mans Saluacioune (1986) l. 2947  
Thus myght doelfulle Marye say on the Gude Fridaye.

1532   T. More Confut. Tyndale in Wks. 651/2  
The .iii. golden frydayes, that is to wit, the frydaye nexte after Palme 
sundaye, and the frydaye next afore easter day, and good fryday.

1579   Spenser Shepheardes Cal. Feb. 30  
So semest thou like good fryday to frowne.

1635   F. Quarles Emblemes v. vii,  
Chear up, my soul..and bear One bad good-friday, full mouth'd easter's 

1662   A. Conway Let. 24 May in Conway Lett. (1992) iv.  224  
Since good fryday I have not been able to goe abroad.

1738   H. Taylor Let. 19 Sept. in T. Secker Corr. (1991)  18,  
I shall officiate on Xtmas day & Good Fryday according to Your  Lordships

1791   J. Boswell Life Johnson anno 1783 II. 444  
On April 18, (being Good-Friday,) I found him..drinking tea without milk, 
and eating a cross-bun to prevent faintness.

1837   Times 24 Feb. 2/5  
On last Holy Thursday or Good Friday they were at the bakehouse of the 
Sieur Montonnet to heat the oven.

1859   G. A. Sala Twice round Clock (1861) 80  
What becomes of all the cold crossbuns after Good Friday?

1868   W. M. Campion & W. J. Beaumont Prayer-bk. Interleaved  (1876) 115  
The term Good Friday is peculiar to the English Church.

1928   Public Opinion 6 Apr. 325/1  
The newspapers do not publish on Good Friday.

1991   J. Trollope Rector's Wife vii. 87  
The three-hour service on Good Friday, when Peter liked the church quite 
unadorned, with the crucifix above the altar shrouded in black.

2010   Leicester Mercury (Nexis) 7 Apr. 15  
It is Good Friday and that is a Bank Holiday.

1491   Mirk's Festialis (Caxton) sig. eiijv,  
Our lorde Ihesu crist, that suffred for vs & all mankynde on good  friday

1563   Bp. J. Pilkington Burnynge of Paules Church sig.  C.viiiv,  
Good fridaye masse.

1595   A. Copley Wits Fittes & Fancies iii. 93  
A Preacher in his good-friday sermon.

1663   J. Carleton Ultimum Vale 26  
On Good-fryday night, she would not go to Bed, she said, but be at her 

1753   J. White Protestant Englishman iv. §4. 285  
If it was not consider'd as an Object of divine Adoration, what means the 
Good-Friday Service, and all the Ceremonies thereof.

1819   Scott Ivanhoe II. vii. 104  
Like a village girl at her first confession upon Good Friday eve.

1890   Dublin Rev. July 81  
All of these are represented in the Good Friday Mass.

1956   Life 2 Apr. 112/2 (caption)   
Good Friday communion for the congregation, long forbidden, is prepared by 
Rev. Ellis Wulfers carrying Blessed Sacrament under an umbrallino.

1961   J. Toland But not in Shame v. xx. 316  
Dirty clouds of smoke still rose to the left where woods were smoldering 
from the cataclysmic Good Friday bombardment.

1992   St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Nexis) 16 Apr. 3 a,  

Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal), 1210 Locust Street, will have Good 
Friday services at noon and 12:30 p.m.

2011   Liverpool Echo (Nexis) 21 Apr. 70  
Evans will go straight into the Centurions squad for the club's Good Friday
fixture with Barrow.

1623   G. Markham Countrey Contentments, or Eng. Huswife (new  ed.) vi. 223
Of these Gerts are made the good Friday pudding.

1654   E. Gayton Pleasant Notes Don Quixot i. v.  17  
A piece of the groaning Cake, (as they call it) which she kept religiously,
with her Good Friday Bun, full forty good yeares.

1753   Trial W. Smith in J. Blackburne Reg. Ingleby (1889) p.  xxviii,  
Mixing Arsenick in a Good-Friday Cake.

1825   W. Hone Every-day Bk. (1826) I. 202/2  
In the houses of some ignorant people, a Good Friday bun is still kept ‘for
luck’, and sometimes there hangs from the ceiling a hard biscuit-like cake
of  open crow-work, baked on a Good Friday, to remain there till displaced
on the  next Good Friday by one of similar make.

1876   F. K. Robinson Gloss. Words Whitby Pref. p.  xii,  
Best flour biscuits are made on Good Friday, to be kept as a year's supply 
for grating into milk or brandy and water to cure the diarrhœa; and with
holes  in the centre, we have seen ‘Good Friday biscuits’ hanging from the 

1905   B. Capes Jay of Italy iii. 27  
He was none the less savage against circumstances—vicious, desperate, 
insolent with his master, as cross all over as a Good Friday bun.

1945   Strand Mag. Apr. 96 (crossword clue)   
A Good Friday cake that some hang up as a charm against evil (3, 5, 3) [= 
hot cross bun].

1998   Belfast News Let. (Nexis) 31  Mar.  
Confidently forecasting a Good Friday agreement, he [sc. Senator George 
Mitchell] said: ‘I think I have enough experience to judge when something is 

1998   Press Jrnl. (Vero Beach, Florida) 11 Apr.  a15  
President Clinton called the Good Friday agreement ‘the best chance for 
peace in a generation.’

2001   B. Ahern in Herald (Glasgow) (Electronic ed.) 2  Feb.  
These are issues that are extremely important for the peace and security of
everybody in Ireland and to see the full implementation of the Good Friday

2010   Church Times 10 Sept. 13/3  
Since the Good Friday Agreement, increasing numbers of Roman Catholics 
serve in the Police Service of Northern Ireland.


By uttering 'good Friday', the Griceian utterer meant by 'good' that the 
day designated one on which some religious observance takes place.

1200 OE   Confessor's Exhort. to Penitence (Corpus Cambr. 190) in  B.
Thorpe Anc. Laws & Instit. of Eng. (1840) II. 224  
Ðeos tid cymð ymbe twelfmonað þæt ælc man sceal his scrift gesprecan... 
Þonne hafa þu rihtne geleafan to Gode & to þysse godan tide.

1500   in C. Brown Relig. Lyrics 15th Cent. (1939) 123  (MED),  
Thre kyngys come on goid xij day.

1620   Hist. Frier Rush sig. B2v,  
Vpon a good night, all the whole Convent assembled together in the  Quier.

1654   J. Trapp Comm. Minor Prophets ii. 35  
She shall neither have holy-dayes nor good dayes (as they are called, Esth.
8.17.) to keep and celebrate.

1723   J. Barker Patch-work Screen for Ladies ii. 45  
When Duty and good Days call'd me to Church, I thought I might find there 
some Compeeresses, or Persons of my own Stamp.

1886   Sabbath Visitor 421/1 Nov.  
These three festivals or feasts are called good days or holidays, because 
they are set aside more for rejoicing than for deep thought.

1902   Menorah Mar. 177  
He remembers his childhood days, the Jewish ‘good-days’, Sabbaths, the 
illuminated synagogue, [etc.].

2000   N. Kanellos Noche Buena 83  
Christmas Eve, the Good Eve, was the time for the patriarchal feast at the 



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